Saturday, November 10, 2007

And the dominoes fall...

It's that time of year again: State Test Season.
Before we go any farther, this disclaimer: Accountability is good. Quality assessment is good. I do not object to using a test to evaluate my students' skills.
I do, however, object to the negative effect that state testing, as per the requirements of federal law, has on instruction. Here we go, folks. Fasten your seatbelts; it's going to be a bumpy ride.

For just over two weeks, my students will have no writing classes. None. That period of the day is designated for test-taking.
A test period also displaces their weekly art class.
Rescheduling the art class cancels math on Tuesdays.
Rescheduling art also results in my orchestra students having to reschedule their weekly small group lesson.
Rescheduling their lesson means pulling out a third of my class during social studies.
Another class needs to use the computer lab as a test venue during our usual lab time. This means that we can't use the lab for keyboarding lessons for two weeks.
Back to the beginning. Scheduling tests during our writing workshop also means moving their morning recess.
Moving recess cuts fifteen minutes out of reading class each day.
Moving recess also cancels our weekly library checkout. Rescheduling that changes spelling and penmanship lessons, which means those have to be skipped or taught some other time, forcing another domino to tip....

Now add in time for handing out pencils, scratch paper, and gum or snacks, and instructional minutes get reduced even further.
And that doesn't count the make-up tests for those who were absent.

After the Test Window, I'll pack up the booklets and send them off to the scoring lab. Out of sight, out of mind, until the scores come back in the spring.
And then I can teach again. My students can learn again. School, in earnest, can begin again.

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4 Comments:

Blogger Shash said...

At least you are testing before Christmas break. Ours doesn't begin this school year until after we return in 2008. So basically after everyone has had 2 weeks to forget what they have learned, we have them come right back into school and test them. Brilliant!

And, yes, I AM from Florida. See above.

Ugh.

Shash

11/10/2007 12:13 PM  
Anonymous Maddy said...

They seem to be far more intense than anything I experienced as a child, but then again that is one continent and two life times ago.
Cheers

11/10/2007 2:58 PM  
Blogger Sheila said...

Our State Tests will happen in the new year. I too am all for aacountability, but I feel way too much emphasis is given to these tests. Even the teachers will agree that they "Teach for the FCATs". Best Wishes for sanity and strength!

11/11/2007 8:42 AM  
Blogger Club 166 said...

I am definitely of two minds on emphasis on testing. It does seem that a lot of other things get short shrift during those times when tests are given. Also, we found in the past that many of the classroom aides were pulled from assisting students in order to use them to proctor tests.

Joe

11/11/2007 10:51 PM  

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